Nation's top sommelier emerges

Alexander LaPratt
NEW YORK -- db Bistro Moderne has long been regarded as one of the nation's top restaurants. Now its Alexander LaPratt is the nation's top sommelier.

LaPratt won the title of “Best Sommelier in America” on Sunday night in a competition hosted by the American Sommelier Association, an organization dedicated to wine education and the sommelier industry in America. He was in competition with 30 candidates from 12 states in a two-day competition at the Jumeirah Essex House hotel.

All the competitors completed a blind tasting test and a written exam that cut the field to four finalists. The others were Christopher Bates of the Hotel Fauchere in Milford, PA, Jared Fischer of Le Bernardin in New York, and Michael Meagher of Treasury Wine Estates in Waltham, MA.

They had to complete tests in food and wine pairing, a blind spirits tasting and a cigar service test, as well as work in a mock dining room full of demanding customers.

Judges for the event included Aldo Sohm, chef sommelier of Le Bernardin and 2007's "Best Sommelier in America," Andre Compeyre, chef sommelier of Adour Alain Ducasse; Andrew F. Bell, co-founder of American Sommelier, and Rajat Parr, wine director of Mina Group.

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